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The birth of a blue wildebeest calf on safari

December and January are famous in the South African bush for the birthing period. Impala, wildebeest, hartebeest and warthogs are just a handful of the herbivores that give birth at this time of year. This baby boom period is how the herbivores ensure their success. Over 50% of the young will fall prey to predators.

Recently I drove to an open plains and stopped, taking in the magnificent scene. Zebra, impala, blue wildebeest and warthogs all with their young grazing on the lush new grass. Despite living and working in the African bush for the past four and a half years and doing game drives twice a day I had never witnessed a successful birth. Then in the distance I noticed a blue wildebeest on her side. She appeared to be struggling. Upon closer inspection with a pair of binoculars I could see two legs and a nose sticking out from under her tail. She was giving birth! The following sequence of photos speak for themselves. I did not want to disturb the new mother so kept my distance. The newly born calf took it’s first steps after 4 minutes and had it’s first drink at 9 minutes. The instinct of these animals incredible and I feel very lucky to have been a witness to this special event.

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